Story of Sustainable Sustenance
By Fatima Arif
Many preconceived notions are attached with Pakistani women and especially women from small towns and rural areas. There is no denying that women face many challenges in this country but at the same time there are stories of resilience and strength that don’t get due attention.
While many are just talking there are people like Hassena Mai of Basti Sheikhan Wali near Taunsa Barrage who are working at the grass root level to help their communities get sustainable food resources. Hassena Mai was approached got this project in its initial stages and she got on board reluctantly. It was not just about experimenting with a new source of food; in fact it was an issue of sustenance for her family. She comes from a large family who does not have the support of a male member’s proper earning and the increase in the prices of the basic food items further made survival difficult. A 10 marla empty plot that the family owned came to the rescue. Once this asset was a source of worry due to the land grabbers encroaching drives, now it is one of the first kitchen gardens of the area that not only provides food and income for this one family but also provides nutritious food for the community as well.
This story is one example of how one person’s efforts can inspire others to join in and end up benefitting the majority. Now there are multiple similar kitchen gardens in the area which are putting quality food on people’s table and also helping them earn a sustainable living.
*WWF-Pakistan under its project improving Livelihoods of Fisher Communities of the Central Indus Wetland partnership with key local persons and Community Based Organization initiative has taken local women on board and helped them in improving their life style by teaching them how to generate sustainable food sources.